Since moving to South Derbyshire around half a year ago it’s been pretty good realising there’s so many places within easy reach of home where live music is happening. Admittedly gaining access to Tamworth’s Two Gates club threatened to prove difficult – a members only establishment requiring you to be nominated and seconded by existing members to gain access. Luckily an email explaining I’d just like to go to the gig rather than join secured a couple of tickets on the door. The sat nav did less well at finding it, but eventually we rocked up in the car park then over to the chippy for some tea.
Once in the venue, rather than the Eyes Wide Shut type scenarios or masonic lodge we’d imagined it was perhaps something more reminiscent of Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights. A traditional social club with a lovely welcome – we got ourselves checked in, paid up and found the soundcheck underway – giving us a chance to grab a drink and catch up with Nick and the Black Thorn collective who were waiting their turn to get underway. Soon enough Clakka, Mark, Russ and Ann arrived too so we had some kindred gig-going spirits with us!
Nick Parker was up first – it did have a bit of a feel of a family party with some background music on for much of the room – we’d positioned ourselves in the sweet spot for the sound system though so the chatter didn’t distract me at all from listening. It was a crisp sound too – kudos to Dan for that. After a swift soundcheck he kicked off with Departures – gradually luring in a decent number of the crowd into abandoning their conversations and taking in the clever lyrical interplay.